As it becomes increasingly clear that the Abbott Government cannot get some of its most unfair policies through the Senate, I joined GetUp! on the lawns of Parliament to wave farewell to federal budget.
Bon voyage Budget!
Speech to the GetUp! rally - Parliament House, Canberra
I’m sure I speak for the other two politicians here with us – Clive Palmer and Christine Milne – when I say that this is definitely the coolest event we’ll attend today.
Today is the 160th anniversary of the Eureka uprising – a demonstration of how people power can change Australia. Now, I’m not urging you to burn your mining licences – those of you who have them – but it is a reminder that people committed to building a better Australia can ultimately prevail.
Friends, Tony Abbott’s unfair budget needs to go. This Budget represents a shift in the burden from the poor to the rich: Robin Hood in reverse.
This budget hits Australians with:
- Cuts to pensions – despite Tony Abbott promising no cuts to pensions
- $80 billion in cuts to schools and hospitals – despite Tony Abbott promising no cuts to schools or hospitals
- A new GP Tax and higher petrol tax – despite Tony Abbott promising no new or increased taxes
- Cuts to the ABC and SBS – despite Tony Abbott promising no cuts the ABC or SBS.
Taking from the have-nots to give to the haves would be unconscionable at the best of times, but it’s particularly egregious after a generation of rising inequality. In Australia today, the richest three people have more wealth than the poorest one million people, and yet this is a Budget that will take from the bottom to give to the top.
And so, this is the perfect place to be farewelling the government’s unfair budget. In front of this great example of Australian design and ingenuity. A testament to the quality of political debate in this country and a vast potent symbol of our democracy in action…and that’s just the giant novelty ship that GetUp! have brought today.
Unfortunately in the other democratic institution that we stand in front of today, the government has not yet come to terms with the fact that this unfair budget needs to go.
The Abbott government has been fond of importing the Tea Party’s policies of increasing inequality by providing tax cuts to the rich while cutting services to the poor.
But we’ve seen that when Barack Obama came to Australia to suggest that Australians fight for action on climate change the government was more reluctant to embrace the ideas of our friends across the Pacific.
We’ve seen that this government is committed to driving Australia’s manufacturing industry into the ground with the collapse of Holden and Abbott’s sweet-heart deals on sending the construction of submarines offshore.
But at least we can continue to be confident that while Tony Abbott is Prime Minister and GetUp! exists that there’ll be a market for the construction of giant novelty props.
Thank you for being here today to fight this unfair budget. Together, we will prevail.